Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila said government will be developing a new Chileka International Airport in the commercial capital, Blantyre and construct a new airport in the northern city of Mzuzu.
Blantyre-Chileka airport is currently lacking modern infrastructure in line with advancement in aviation technologies.
Kasaila told parliament that the new Chileka International Airport will be constructed at the same site.
“That is what we intend to do. As I said previously, it has just been a proposal; it has not been approved. We are making a proposal that we can improve on that airport. It is an international airport, and it is quite important,” said Kasaila.
He added: “The rehabilitation that is going on at Chileka now, for those people that are using our airports, may have seen that it is the old building that we are rehabilitating in order to accommodate the current traffic. There is a lot of congestion, and so far, we have completed rehabilitating the ground floor of the building. A contractor is working on the upper floor. The ground floor will be open to traffic in order to create more space for our travelling passengers.”
For the acquisition of airport navigation equipment, modernisation and fire fighting, the minister said: “What happens in this sector is that, if you want equipment, they manufacture on your specifications, and you have to pay in advance. But you cannot pay the entire cost at one goal.
“So, we have been paying for that so that they manufacture and that is the reason why every year they come because of the resource envelope. Otherwise, our main hope is the bill which was referred to the Committee that if we have those resources, most of these things, in our airports, will be taken care of.”
Chileka is the country’s oldest international Airport handling both domestic and international airline operators.
Kasaila also said plans are underway to construct a new airport in Mzuzu, saying some four years ago, Mzuzu Airport was given some resources but the land that was identified, after surveys were done, money spent on, was encroached.
“The resources that were made available for that airport were wasted. We assure you that we are working very hard, we know the problem and we will continue working very hard to make sure that this airport is given the attention,” said Kasaila.
Mzuzu airport is also the only airport serving the northern city of Mzuzu, and there were concerns over the condition of the airport following an accident in which an aircraft from the capital, Lilongwe, which was carrying the country’s the then second vice-president late Chakufwa Chihana and seven other passengers, swerved off the airport runway into a main road. It hit a minibus, killing one passenger and injuring several others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :